Locals supporting locals – An idea to embrace this holiday season

A few weeks ago, I read a Letter to the Editor in The Durango Herald questioning the almost fanatic adoration that many Durangoans hold for our little neck of the woods, especially as compared to other towns around the country that are equally captivating and beautiful.

The writer has a point. Our entire world is full of examples of beauty and majesty and ways of doing things that are different, and in many cases, better. Think: readily available mass transit, health care where the first question asked is “what is wrong?” not “what is your insurance?”; coffee never served in a disposable cup. Yes, we live in an interesting, beautiful world. Yet here we all are and what we all have in common is we call this relatively tiny spot on the map home. And I submit, most of us are proud and thankful to do so.

This feeling of pride is not just for the beauty of the Four Corners. It is everything that makes us a unique community. Think of what this means to you personally and how you hold that dear. Is part of that equation our independent medical providers, our restaurants, local retailers, farmers, accountants, radio stations, local nonprofits, bookstores, bike shops, banks, liquor stores, the list goes on … Unlike big box stores, every one of these businesses is owned and operated by a La Plata County resident. Maybe a neighbor, maybe a friend.

This is what makes Durango unique. And what better time than now – as the holidays approach – to show your support of our community by celebrating and supporting our local, independent businesses and nonprofits. Local First encourages all of us to look local first with our dollars. Instead of getting excited about Cyber Monday or Black Friday, think Noel Night (Dec. 1) and Colorado Gives Day (Dec. 5).

Local First 2024 Coupon Books are on sale now. Support Local First and the businesses that give back to our community by picking up a book at many retail locations throughout town. The coupon book is about so much more than coupons. It reflects the vibrant, fun, engaging community that makes us … us. Oh, and there are fantastic offerings from our local independent business community in there as well.

Speaking again of health care, open enrollment for individual and family health insurance runs through Dec. 15 for coverage starting on Jan. 1. Local First partnered with Peak Health Alliance to bring Elevate Health Plan to southwest Colorado – a more affordable, locally crafted option that saves you money and offers free primary care and mental health visits. A big shout out to our many local health care practitioners and hospitals who are participating in Elevate Health Plan for 2024.

You can also keep your money local by working with a local health insurance broker to help you find the best option to meet your needs. There is no cost to you. If you don’t know where to start, contact Local First’s health care advocate Doug McCarthy at 799-6618 or email doug@local-first.org. Visit our website to learn more and see how much you can save: https://tinyurl.com/y54vks9e.

Locals supporting Locals. A big reason I am proud to call Durango home.

Mary Oswald is board chairwoman for Local First.